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I've made my first novel, Ventus, available as a free download, as well as excerpts from two of the Virga books.  I am looking forward to putting up a number of short stories in the near future.

Complete novel:  Ventus


To celebrate the August, 2007 publication of Queen of Candesce, I decided to re-release my first novel as an eBook. You can download it from this page. Ventus was first published by Tor Books in 2000, and and you can still buy it; to everyone who would just like to sample my work, I hope you enjoy this version.

I've released this book under a Creative Commons license, which means you can read it and distribute it freely, but not make derivative works or sell it.

Book Excerpts:  Sun of Suns and Pirate Sun

I've made large tracts of these two Virga books available.  If you want to find out what the Virga universe is all about, you can check it out here:

Major Foresight Project:  Crisis in Zefra

In spring 2005, the Directorate of Land Strategic Concepts of National Defense Canada (that is to say, the army) hired me to write a dramatized future military scenario.  The book-length work, Crisis in Zefra, was set in a mythical African city-state, about 20 years in the future, and concerned a group of Canadian peacekeepers who are trying to ready the city for its first democratic vote while fighting an insurgency.  The project ran to 27,000 words and was published by the army as a bound paperback book.

If you'd like to read Crisis in Zefra, you can download it in PDF form.

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Dec 03, 2008

Great review of Fast Forward 2 in Futurismic

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Toby Buckell and I contributed a story, and this reviewer loved it

The review talks about all the pieces in the anthology, and reinforces the widely held impression that this has been a very good year for science fiction short stories.  When it comes to the story "Mitigation" written by Tobias Buckell and myself, Futurismic has this to say:

“Mitigation” by the potent double-act of Karl Schroeder and former Futurismic staffer Tobias Buckell takes the best of both writers. Buckell’s instinct for fast-moving action drives the plot, while Schroeder’s concern with (and deep knowledge of) the impending ecological crisis provides the set and setting for a classic double-bluff. It’s a good balance; the bleakness of the impending future is mitigated by the snappy pace, so you take on board the underlying message without being drowned in it.

There's a lot more in this rich and detailed review, so head on over to Futurismic and check it out. 

Nov 01, 2008

Tesseracts Twelve showcases Canada's finest

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What's really special about this anthology is that it is dedicated to novellas rather than short stories

It's often claimed that the proper medium for written science fiction and fantasy is the novella.  I happen to agree--but novellas, being a long form intermediate between short story and novel, are notoriously hard to sell.  We all write them (every SF writer I know has a file folder full of novellas) and they often represent our best work; but there's no consistent market for them, so they're rarely read.Tesseracts 12

When Claude Lalumière opened Tesseracts Twelve for submissions, he decided to focus on novellas, and so this edition of the long-running Canadian SF anthology has fewer authors in it than most.  But the trade-off is worth it, because these stories represent some of the best of the best:  long-form fiction from some of Canada's most popular and critically acclaimed SF and fantasy writers.

Included in these pages are stories by E.L. Chen, Randy McCharles, Derryl Murphy, David Nickle, Gord Sellar, Grace Seybold, and Michael Skeet & Jill Snider Lum.  You may not have heard of all these authors, but several of these names represent long-running stars of the Canadian SF scene, and all are excellent.  I won't pick favourites here; it seems inappropriate in a long-form medium where every story is radically different from all the others.  But this could be the best Tesseracts anthology yet.  If you're not familiar with the series, this is the place to start.

And by the way, the anthology, just out, is already garnering rave reviews.  This is what SFRevu had to say:

When you see a long running anthology series, it cannot just be riding the shirt tails of previous successes; the book market is just not that robust. For that reason alone, Tesseracts Twelve shows it is something worth exploring. With a focus on Canadian writers, it showcases the great talent to be found in that country and also gives these authors a rare opportunity for writing a longer piece. A wide range of styles and themes is presented here, making this is a smorgasbord of literary delights.

Oct 23, 2008

First reviews of Metatropolis are highly favourable

Tor's site in particular had a lot to say has a review of Metatropolis here.  They really liked it, the reviewer, John Joseph Adams, going so far as to say, "Overall, METAtropolis is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in a long time."  He follows that up with praise for each of the stories, and the narrators, three of whom are Battlestar Galactica actors.  But I really got happy when he said this:

The two standout stories, I thought, were the two with the most complicated titles—Scalzi’s Utere Nihil Non Extra Quiritationem Suis and Karl Schroeder’s To Hie from Far Cilenia. Scalzi’s is the most accessible and fun; Schroeder’s is the most inventive and full of gosh-wow sensawunda.

This is fantastic--another case where I had literally no idea how my story was going to be received.  It's... well... more than a bit strange.  But with the other pieces to anchor the world a bit, I guess it works.

Meanwhile, over at is another great review, praising both the stories and the excellent narration.  They have this to say about my story, "To Hie from Far Cilenia:"

...And last is Karl Schroeder’s story, “To Hie from Far Cilenia”, read by Stefan Rudnicki. This is a wonderful story of cities of a different type. Idea-rich, action-packed - it’s got it all. It’s a perfect cap to a great bunch of stories, taking things in a completely different direction. A virtual world superimposed on the “real” one, but isn’t the virtual one just as real? Rudnicki is excellent, like always.

Hey Mom, I made some sensawunda!

Aug 16, 2008

Jo Walton on Lady of Mazes

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A great review over at

Jo Walton has some very kind words to say about Lady of Mazes; it's the sort of review I could have hoped for more of when the book first came out.  Actually, the public reception to this novel perfectly encapsulates my career:  rave reviews, nobody buying.  Jo talks about how much she enjoyed the novel, and how surprised she was that it wasn't being talked about everywhere.  I wasn't surprised--more like, resigned. 

Somebody recently told me, "science fiction can only look in one direction at a time, and right now, that direction is Charlie Stross."  (Who is, I hasten to add, eminently worthy of our regard.)  But it does seem to be the case that "there can be only one" in SF, or at least it seems that way when it comes to SF novels in any given year.  I'm currently enjoying the irony of having thousands of people become aware of my work through the free download version of Ventus--for which I receive nothing, of course--rather than, say, through my current, critically-acclaimed, award-nominated series.  I've given up trying to figure out why this sort of thing happens, but I know I'm far from alone--check out Kaythryn Cramer's list of 100+ people who have never won a Hugo, for instance (it's astonishing who's on it).

Anyway, my warm regards and thanks to Jo for talking about the book that is, in many ways, my favourite--Lady of Mazes was certainly the more challenging and rewarding project I've ever undertaken, and of all my characters Livia Kodaly is closest to my heart.

Aug 08, 2008

Another great Pirate Sun review

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"In the same league as the best SF ever has had to offer..."

Well, I guess I can finally relax.  I'd been worried about my choices in crafting the Virga series, because everybody seemed to have opinions about where the story should go next, and their ideas never seemed to jibe with my own.  "Hayden Griffin has to come back in book three!"  "The third book needs to go outside Virga and look at Artificial Nature!"  And on and on.  I had this terrible feeling as I was writing Pirate Sun that I was crafting a book that would please no one, and I let it go to Tor's production department with something of a feeling of dread.

Yet now, Ernest Lilley, over at, has this to say:

In the Virga saga, Schroeder demonstrates that he is capable of rich characters, exciting action, compelling plot, and very solid science. ...It's fun in the same league as the best SF ever has had to offer, fully as exciting and full of cool science as work from the golden age of SF, but with characterization and plot layering equal to the scrutiny of critical appraisers.


Aug 07, 2008

Great review of Pirate Sun on Sci Fi UK

They say "planetary romance is alive and well"

Britain's Sci Fi UK website has a smashing review of Pirate Sun.  It's worth quoting at length:

This series by Schroeder succeeds remarkably on two distinct levels. Actually, three levels if you count the hybrid fusion of its two modes as a separate success itself.

On the one hand, the series exemplifies all the many wonders inherent in the Big Dumb Object-or "extremely alien environment"-mode of SF. ...Schroeder has conjured up a mind-croggling "steel beach" to add to the genre's rich roster of such places, worked out its mechanics and cultures with masterful ingenuity, and then figured out what kind of adventure such a place would best support...

But on top of this, he has found a way to legitimately recreate the melodramatic thrills found most prominently in the literature from what editor and critic David Pringle calls "the Age of the Storytellers." The exploits of Chaison and Venera, and the gleeful yet bloody-minded pellmell tone and pace of the telling, hark back to Robert Louis Stevenson, Alexander Dumas and, of course, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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About Me

I'm a member of the Association of Professional Futurists with my own consultancy, and am also currently Chair of the Canadian node of the Millennium Project, a private/public foresight consultancy active in 50 nations. As well, I am an award-winning author with ten published novels translated into as many languages. I write, give talks, and conduct workshops on numerous topics related to the future, including:

  • Future of government
  • Bitcoin and digital currencies
  • The workplace in 2030
  • The Internet of Things
  • Augmented cognition

For a complete bio, go here. To contact me, email karl at kschroeder dot com

Example: The Future of Governance

I use Science Fiction to communicate the results of actual futures studies. Some of my recent research relates to how we'll govern ourselves in the future. I've worked with a few clients on this and published some results.

Here are two examples--and you can read the first for free:

The Canadian army commissioned me to write Crisis in Urlia, a fictionalized study of the future of military command-and-control. You can download a PDF of the book here:

Crisis in Urlia

For the "optimistic Science Fiction" anthology Hieroglyph, I wrote "Degrees of Freedom," set in Haida Gwaii. "Degrees of Freedom" is about an attempt to develop new governing systems by Canadian First Nations people.

I'm continuing to research this exciting area and would be happy to share my findings.


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    Coming on June 18, 2019

    "Science fiction at its best."

    --Kim Stanley Robinson

    A Young Adult Scifi Saga

    "Lean and hugely engaging ... and highly recommended."

    --Open Letters Monthly, an Arts and Literature Review

    Sheer Fun: The Virga Series

    (Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce are combined in Cities of the Air)

     “An adventure-filled tale of sword fights and naval battles... the real fun of this coming-of-age tale includes a pirate treasure hunt and grand scale naval invasions set in the cold, far reaches of space. ”
    Kirkus Reviews (listed in top 10 SF novels for 2006)

    "With Queen of Candesce, [Schroeder] has achieved a clockwork balance of deftly paced adventure and humour, set against an intriguing and unique vision of humanity's far future.
    --The Globe and Mail

    "[Pirate Sun] is fun in the same league as the best SF ever has had to offer, fully as exciting and full of cool science as work from the golden age of SF, but with characterization and plot layering equal to the scrutiny of critical appraisers."

    "...A rollicking good read... fun, bookish, and full of insane air battles"

    "A grand flying-pirate-ship-chases-and-escapes-and-meetings-with-monsters adventure, and it ends not with a debate or a seminar but with a gigantic zero-gee battle around Candesce, a climactic unmasking and showdown, just desserts, and other satisfying stuff."